Readers’ Choice 2021
- Debbi Salmonsen is thinking about New Orleans. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival’s Artistic/Executive Director shares a couple of songs by two top acts she’s enjoyed there.
- My Belgian cousin, Jan Vochten, listened to more music than ever during the second year of COVID lockdowns. Adding to his already broad musical palette, now he’s trading songs with his 17 year-old daughter. He offers a lengthy and wonderfully varied playlist. Settle in!
The 4th Annual Readers’ Choice
Kurated readers share their favourite music of the last year in the annual Readers’ Choice series. Anything musical is welcomed whether its new, an old favourite, something self-composed and more. Thanks to all the contributors!
Kurated is a music sharing project.
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31 December 2021
2-Song Playlist on YouTube
Can You Get to That by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Broken Hearted Blues by Tuba Skinny
A New Orleans State of Mind
As I recently relinquished a ticket to New Orleans, purchased in 2020 just before COVID reared it’s adaptive, contagious head, I find myself thinking of the city: its fantastic architecture, food, music, and people. And some of the wonderful music I’ve been blessed to experience there over the past decade.
On my last visit in 2018, my family and I experienced George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic in a great concert at the House of Blues. This inspires my first musical pick Can You Get To That. It’s one of my favourite songs, and great to dance around the house to, when the weather outside is gloomy.
My second musical pick, Broken Hearted Blues, is by the New Orleans-based group Tuba Skinny. The horns, the singing, the vibe of this incredibly talented band just gets better and better. They often busk on Royal Street in addition to headlining international music festivals. Their unofficial leader and cornet player, Shaye Cohn, is also an incredible piano player.
About Debbi: Debbi Salmonsen has loved music since early childhood, and is currently the Artistic / Executive Director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
66-song playlist on Spotify
(NOTE there are more songs on the playlist than noted below)
When the world hands you lockdown, make a playlist!
My list for this year is exceptionally long and melancholy for personal reasons. During this second “lockdown year” I had more time to discover new music. It seemed like more songs were published than usual – a number of them by new Belgian bands.
- Abe Parker: Here Comes the Sun: A choice from my daughter. I told her about the Beatles and George Harrison the writer of this great song. She had never heard of them. And then I presented my favourite version by Nina Simone.
- Brandi Carlile: Right on Time
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra: That Life: Loved watching the video and reading the commentaries
- Jan Garbarek & Hilliard Ensemble: Parce Mihi Domine: At my first concert of Early Music I watched four gentlemen in shiny shirts enter. Their singing was amazing: they sang this a capella, In this version Garbarek’s saxophone introduces another dimension.
- Susanne Sundfor: When the Lord, soundtrack to a Norwegian documentary ‘Selvportrett’ (Self Portrait)
- Celeste: Love is Back, Stop this Flame;
- Wanthanee: Taipei , new Belgian singer songwriter
- Valerie June: Call me a Fool, Stay
- Dominique Fils-Aimé: Home to Me
- Wolf Alice: Last Man on Earth ; Live Version (from the BBC, “Later with Jools Holland”); Delicious Things
- Yo Yo Ma (with Silk Ensemble) ; Going Home ; Honor Song (with Jeremy Dutcher); I admire Yo Yo Ma for his beautiful musical experiments. His music (Going Home) was played at the memorial of my youngest sister, who passed away in June. I can no longer listen to this song.
- Ghostly Kisses, J’ai Demandé à la Lune, Zombie, great cover, my nephew Sietse from Friesland was impressed
- Silk Sonic: Leave the Door Open, Skate: Joy and craftmanship by Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak
- Billie Eilish: Happier than Ever: My Future
- Jorja Smith: Bussdown, Addicted,
- Big Red Machine Hutch, Phoenix, Live Version:
- Joy Crookes: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, When You Were Mine,
- Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows : Songs of John Prine, vol. 2 I enjoyed listening to this tribute to John Prine, with some excellent artists interpreting one of his songs: Bonnie Raitt, Valerie June, Emmylou Harris, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Nathaniel Rateliff, Brandi Carlile, …
Some excellent songs that did not make it to my list, because it would be too long:
Andreas Scholl, Guardian Angel, A 2017 recording by this famous German countertenor.
War on Drugs, new release: Living Proof, Change
Lili Grace, Traveller, 2 Belgian sisters.
Thomas Dybdahl, From Grace, Great Norwegian singer songwriter
Ada Victoria, South Gotta Change,
Dans Dans, Cinder Bay, Belgian jazz band.
Dua Lipa & Angèle, Fever,
Amanda Bergman Falcons,
Douglas Firs, At Least Once (live) Belgian band
Charlotte Cardin, Anyone Who Loves Me
Melissa Nadler, Bessie Did You Make It
Linda Thompson, Beauty,
Robert Plant, Alison Krauss: Last Kind Word Blues, from the excellent new album: Raise the Roof
Meskerem Mees: Seasons Shift a new young Belgian singer, great first album.
About Jan: Jan Vochten is 72, living in Belgium (thus a number of Belgian bands in my list). During the long lockdown I have listened to music more than ever. Sometimes my daughter Hanne (17) and I take turns presenting songs. I introduced her to the Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter, (with the story of the background vocals by Merry Clayton) and she presented Jordan Suaste, Body